Justine Sandoval has been fighting for the right to abortion for more than 10 years.
Throughout her life as an activist, she has spoken out and organized hundreds of abortion rights rallies. But she knew a battle would ensue if the U.S. Supreme Court reconsidered Roe v. Wade.
On Monday evening, she learned of the High Court’s draft decision which would overturn the landmark decision.
“I knew this was coming,” Sandoval said. “I have been going to rallies for over a decade to warn of the possible situation we find ourselves in right now.”
Sandoval was among about 100 people who rallied at the state Capitol on Tuesday to voice support for abortion rights. Protesters held signs saying “My body, my choice”, “Health is a human right” and “We will not go back”.
Many rally attendees said they were appalled when they learned of the leaked draft.
“I had a stomach ache,” said Rebecca Brumbeloe of Denver.
“Honestly, I felt like there was a hole in my stomach,” said Tezcatli Diaz, a Denver community organizer.
“It was like a surprise, but at the same time, there was this feeling of sadness and deception. Like why are we backing down?” said Alyssa Nilemo of Douglas County.
State Rep. Leslie Herod told the crowd that banning the procedure “won’t stop abortions from happening, but it will reduce the number of safe abortions that happen and push people into The shadow”.
Herod, who is black, added, “They will hurt people who look like me and you disproportionately to judges who vote to ban abortion.”
The Commonwealth Funda private foundation that aims to promote a “high performing health care system” released a study in September that found abortion bans had a greater impact on mothers of color than white mothers by examining the impact of banning abortion in Texas.
“Black women in Texas are more likely to experience unwanted pregnancies. The result is that abortion is more commonly performed by black women,” the study said. “Unplanned pregnancies are associated with higher rates of maternal mortality, prematurity, and infant mortality. SB 8 will therefore compound the long-term damage of racism in the Texas health care system, disproportionately hurting black mothers and their children.”
Sandoval said the draft advisory could be the reality people need to come out and protest.
“I think that’s the kind of thing that makes people go out and do that,” she said. “There was always this idea that our rights were safe, but now it has shown the real reality of the situation and hopefully will light a fire under other people.”